This website uses cookies
More information
Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
Related background information from the Handbook...

Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters UK

BAN's World Gazetteer

The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

Request your printed copy

Demand for better back-up intensifies just as Eurocopter takes over McAlpine
Eurocopter has pledged to extend service and support after making U.K. and Ireland distributor McAlpine Helicopters a wholly-owned subsidiary rebranded as Eurocopter UK Limited.

Eurocopter has pledged to extend service and support after making U.K. and Ireland distributor McAlpine Helicopters a wholly-owned subsidiary rebranded as Eurocopter UK Limited. The takeover comes as corporate owners, acquiring helicopters to maximise business efficiency, are insisting on higher standards of back-up and maintenance.

Jeremy James, honorary secretary of the Helicopter Club of Great Britain for 20 years, says: "McAlpine back-up and service is very good compared to the industry average. However, there is definitely room for improvement in this area where the aviation industry as a whole is concerned." He emphasises: "McAlpine are very definitely the pick of the bunch and it has made customer service a priority with the allocation of dedicated people and resources."

But James, owner of a helicopter for more than 22 years who has had an additional dozen years of practical experience of the use of corporate helicopters, says that dealers and manufacturers should work together to aspire to at least the level of service now common in the car industry.

"Comprehensive warranties and courtesy cars are standard options," he points out. "In general, the level of service and back-up provided in the aviation industry would not be accepted as sufficient particularly by owners of quality cars such as Mercedes."

While some owners are keen to enjoy higher standards, others have expressed satisfaction with current service levels. AS350B3 owner Steve Perez says: "I've got to say that McAlpine is excellent. I was warned that helicopter service and maintenance was going to be expensive and time-consuming. But McAlpine has been very helpful and there is a strong focus on getting the job done."

Eurocopter UK is based at Kidlington, near Oxford with a subsidiary sales office in Ireland. Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter ceo, says: "The British Isles comprise one of our major markets in Europe and worldwide. By consolidating our resources and strength with McAlpine's proven capabilities, we will be able to further extend our service and support to our civil and military customers in the U.K. and Ireland. It is our strategy to be a multi-local player with a worldwide exclusive sales and customer service network mainly through fully-owned subsidiaries, of which Eurocopter UK Limited has now become an integral part." Eurocopter previously held 10 per cent in the British company.

Bertling says: "For the past 30 years, McAlpine Helicopters has achieved an exemplary performance in the distribution and support of Eurocopter products, with well over 200 helicopters sold. This success is attributable to the highly skilled workforce, its capacity to design, install, flight test and certify modifications tailored to the market requirements, and to deliver first-class support for a very sizeable helicopter fleet." The company presently employs over 150 staff. He adds: "Eurocopter is confident in the ability of Eurocopter UK's current management team and staff to continue to run the company and its future expansion, and therefore does not envisage changing the present team or the existing facilities in Oxford."

Eurocopter UK says: "Our customers use their helicopters for all the roles that the helicopter is uniquely capable of performing, and these range from corporate transport to the most sophisticated requirements of the police. Our completion centre has a well deserved reputation for tailoring each helicopter to the customer's requirements, be it a luxurious cabin interior, top-of-the-range glass cockpit, or sophisticated and fully integrated surveillance system. Customer care after delivery is one of our strengths and we have two CAA approved maintenance centres, one at our Kidlington main base and a second at Hawarden, Chester, with several line stations throughout the U.K. and Ireland to provide additional support. Modern helicopters are very reliable with many of our customers flying over 1,000 hours per year. We offer a very cost-effective support by the hour maintenance contract backed by on-call field engineers and a comprehensive logistics organisation as part of our wide ranging customer support facility."

Eurocopter claims a market share in the U.K. and Ireland of 73 per cent in the police and law enforcement segment, 73 per cent in the EMS market and 50 per cent in the commercial/private segment. Bertling says: "Eurocopter fully acknowledges Kenneth McAlpine's visionary contribution to this success and to aviation in general during his 60 years of involvement in the industry. The expansion plan envisaged for Eurocopter UK Ltd will aim at increasing the UK content of services, both in the civil and military markets."

Other News
Capital Air Services adds people pleaser to charter fleet
August 31, 2023
The brand-new five-bladed Airbus H145 D3 is already attracting interest from passengers who are keen to experience the roomy cabin and smooth ride.
WA Police Force Air Wing brings in five-blade H145
August 13, 2023
Western Australia is the first law enforcement jurisdiction to operate the new H145 helicopter in the southern hemisphere, giving officers access to the most advanced air support technology available.
Chinese operators ready to fly the H175
July 25, 2023
To sustain the helicopter market growth in China, Airbus Helicopters is committed to jointly work with the Chinese industry to develop the Chinese civil market with products such as the H175.